Hillary Clinton is the first woman to get so close to becoming the president of the United States. In fact, her campaign has proven so successful that she is well ahead in the Democratic race for presidency and would reportedly have a bigger challenge facing off with Republican hopefuls Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz than the party’s front-runner, Donald Trump.
As the world watches Clinton make history, it’s important to reflect on the countless women who have also run for POTUS. To kick off Women’s History Month, here are some of the ladies that fought to rewrite the political history books.
The bridge between Hollywood and politics was quite apparent when comedian and actress Grace Allen ran for president in 1940. The wife of George Burns, who appeared on the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, reportedly used the political run as a publicity stunt. Allen, who said her platform was “redwood, trimmed with nutty pine,” got the last laugh as she was never officially on the ballot but did get write-in votes. The famed actress passed away in 1964 in Los Angeles at the age of 69.
Victoria Woodhull was only 34 in 1872 when she became the first woman to run for president in the United States. The New Yorker’s running mate was Frederick Douglass, the first African-American ever nominated for Vice President, although there’s no record he accepted. She fought for political reform, civil rights, and social welfare, and was known for her radicalism as a woman suffrage activist. She was 88 when she died in 1927.
The 1972 presidential election saw several women vying for a nomination. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, ran for the Democratic nomination with the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed.” Chisholm was joined by Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Asian-American to seek a nomination, who served in the U.S. Congress representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District until 2002, the year she died. Also in the race that year was Bella Abzug, Linda Osteen Jenness, and Evelyn Reed.
Laura Clay ran for president of the United States in 1920, but it wasn’t the first time the Kentucky-born activist was president. She was the first president elected in 1888 to the newly formed Kentucky Woman Suffrage Association. By 1920, she founded the Democratic Women’s Club of Kentucky and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Clay made history as the first woman to be nominated at a major party’s convention. She died at the age of 92 in 1941.
Jill Stein ran for president of the United States in 2012 during the last presidential election year. She headed the Green Party ticket with running mate Cheri Honkala for Vice President and fought for green jobs and environmental protections. The Stein/Honkala ticket garnered 469,015 votes. Now, the Massachusetts resident is running again for the Green Party nomination, and while she calls Bernie Sanders’s campaign “wonderful,” she says there’s still room for a third party.